Applications for the Business Incubation and Commercialization Grant Program are now closed.

Overview

The Business Incubation and Commercialization Grant Program provides financial support to incubators and entrepreneurship organizations interested in creating business formation, innovation, and job creation in Toronto and who provide robust programming to new entrepreneurs, businesses and start-ups.

This program is designed to support not-for-profit entrepreneurship, incubation and accelerator activities whose primary goals are to create businesses and jobs, encourage the development of new ideas, and work towards organizational efficiency, sustainability and while utilizing industry best practices.

This program does not provide grants to individual for-profit businesses, but instead is aimed at not-for-profit organizations that offer entrepreneurship and incubation or acceleration programming to entrepreneurs. For more detail, refer to the program guidelines.

Objective

The Business Incubation and Commercialization Grant Program supports the development of entrepreneurship and incubation activity in a manner that is fully accessible, transparent and accountable and aligned with the City of Toronto’s goals of access, equity and inclusion.

Funding Available

There are two streams within the program offering funding:

  • Multi-Year Operating (3-year cycle)
    • Up to 20% of eligible expenses, to a maximum of $100,000, for applicants in the multi-year operating stream. Grants will be dispensed in two parts: 75% provided upfront and 25% held back until completion.
  • Programs and Events
    • Up to 50% of eligible expenses, to a maximum of $20,000, for programs. Program grants will be dispensed in two parts: 75% provided upfront and 25% held back until completion; or
    • Up to 50% of eligible expenses, to a maximum of $10,000, for events. Event grants will be dispensed in a one-time payment.

Annual operating, project, event or development funding received in one year does not guarantee funding in subsequent years.

Eligibility and Requirements

Eligibility

The Business Incubation and Commercialization Grant Program is available to the following types of not-for-profit organizations that provide incubation-type programming to entrepreneurs:

  • Pre-Incubator: an organization that offers programming such as development of client’s business idea. Services typically include: business advisory support, mentoring, networking and market research.
  • Incubator: an organization that adds programming such as implementation of a business idea into actual operation while providing various supports throughout the process, such as business advisory support, office or studio space, shared industrial/commercial equipment, product/prototype development, mentoring, networking and market research.
  • Accelerator: an organization that focuses on rapid growth through the provision of strategic financing and market readiness strategies. Services typically include financing or investment, business advisory support, mentoring and office or studio space.
  • Post-Secondary Education Institution: an academic institution that includes entrepreneurship and business support as part of its curriculum and programming, including campus-led incubators and accelerators. (Only eligible for the Programs and Events Stream and the number of provided grants is capped at four per academic institution.)
  • Industry Association: an organization that represents a certain business sector and has a focus on entrepreneurship and sector development.

To be eligible for funding, not-for-profit organizations must also demonstrate:

  • Programming that is Toronto-centric and support Toronto-based entrepreneurs and startups,
  • Robust business incubation, acceleration and entrepreneurship programming,
  • Detailed and comprehensive application and supporting documents, and
  • Proof of Not-for Profit Status

Multi-Year Operating Stream Requirements

Applicant organizations must meet the following to be eligible for Multi-year Operating Stream:

  • Have been incorporated for three years or more and have paid staff,
  • Have programming tailored specifically to company formation and job creation,
  • Demonstrate a history of successful entrepreneurship and robust incubation or accelerator programming for three years or more, and
  • Be able to provide its most recent audited financial statements demonstrating revenues between $100,000 to $1 million.

Programs and Events Stream Requirements

Applicant organizations must meet the following to be eligible for the Programs and Events Stream:

  • Have been incorporated for at least two years,
  • Programming can cover a range of entrepreneurship and innovation development including pre-incubation, incubation and accelerator activities, as well as one-time or a series of networking events with targeted sectoral or demographical reach and impact,
  • Demonstrate a history of successful entrepreneurship, campus entrepreneurship, or social enterprise programming, and
  • Be able to provide a comprehensive budget for review with its application, demonstrating revenue of less than $100,000 for Programs or $50,000 for Events.

Ineligibility

For-profit incubators and individual businesses are ineligible to apply for or participate in the program.

Eligible organizations cannot:

  • Be taking any equity from the start-ups it supports,
  • Apply for or participate in more than one stream of funding per year, or
  • Apply for new or additional grants if applicant is receiving funds through a multi-year agreement under previous program framework, until such time that their existing funding agreement has ended.

In addition, organizations receiving any other core funding from the City of Toronto are ineligible to apply for the Multi-year Operating Stream. However, these organizations may be eligible to apply for the smaller Programs and Events Stream depending on available funds.

Reporting

Please note that all grant recipients will have to demonstrate their program’s reach and impacts via a questionnaire issued at the end of each year. It will be the responsibility of the recipient to canvass the clients it has served as a result of the grant, to collect the data below and provide to the City of Toronto in aggregate form. No individual personal or private business information will be identified or shared.

Eligible organizations should carefully review the required metrics below and consider their organization’s capacity to collect them when deciding upon which funding stream to apply:

  • Metrics for the Multi-Year Operating Stream and Program Stream: number of events, number of program queries, number of clients served, number of businesses formed, number of jobs created, client postal codes, participant demographic information and a list of companies served, including company names and website addresses
  • Metrics for the Event Stream: number of events, number of participants, client postal codes and participant demographic information

How To Apply

Applications for the 2023 Business Incubation and Commercialization Grant Program are now closed.

Please have the following supporting documents ready to upload, depending on which funding stream your organization qualifies:

  • Multi-Year Operating Stream:
    • Proof of not-for-profit status,
    • Your organization’s program staff complement and most current Board of Directors,
    • Most recent audited financial statements demonstrating revenues between $100,000 to $1 million,
    • Robust curriculum, and
    • Milestones and deliverables overview.
  • Programs and Events Stream:
    • Proof of not-for-profit status,
    • Your organization’s program staff complement and most current Board of Directors,
    • Detailed budget, and
    • Robust curriculum or event schedule, as well as
    • Milestones and deliverables overview if applying for the Program Stream

Download templates which can be used to prepare supporting documents:

For any questions about the Business Incubation and Commercialization Grant Program please contact Wei Guo at 416-395-7474 or wei.guo@toronto.ca or Nina Gesa at 416-392-3386 or nina.gesa@toronto.ca.

Application Process

Applications will be reviewed and scored by an assessment panel comprised of community advisors (where possible) and City staff. Applications will be assessed using the above noted criteria as well as a scoring system built on four key program priorities:

  • Program Alignment
  • Program Impact and Engagement
  • Organizational Capacity
  • Financial Sustainability

Please note that all decisions concerning eligibility and funding amounts are final.